Developing virtual field experiences for undergraduates with high-resolution panoramas (GigaPans) at multiple scales
Published:October 01, 2012
Jennifer L. Piatek, Candace L. Kairies Beatty, William L. Beatty, Michael C. Wizevich, Alex Steullet, 2012. "Developing virtual field experiences for undergraduates with high-resolution panoramas (GigaPans) at multiple scales", Google Earth and Virtual Visualizations in Geoscience Education and Research, Steven J. Whitmeyer, John E. Bailey, Declan G. De Paor, Tina Ornduff
Download citation file:
Field experiences are the cornerstone of a successful geoscience education, but these activities can be difficult (if not impossible) to include in many geoscience courses due to practical concerns. Virtual field exercises, presented through a series of high-resolution zoomable panoramas created with a GigaPan® robotic camera mount and associated software, allow students to gain experience interpreting outcrops and landscapes when physical travel to a site is not feasible. Exercises incorporating GigaPan panoramas have been developed for a number of undergraduate courses at different levels within the geoscience curriculum. Students in introductory-level courses are presented with exercises that explore local geology and illustrate basic concepts such as faulting and cross-bedding. Exercises for intermediate-level courses include analysis of geomorphic features in relation to bedrock type, the influence of landforms on historical events, and interpretation of shear stress orientations and magnitudes from small-scale structural features in outcrop. More advanced exercises, utilizing multiple-tier panoramas that range from outcrop to thin-section scales, have been developed from existing field research projects. These examples represent the initial effort to develop an extensive catalog of interactive self-paced exercises that will be incorporated into classes across the geoscience curriculum.